Only Lovers Left Alive

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE written and directed.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, with Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Anton Yelchin. A Mongrel Media release. 123 minutes. Opens Friday (April 25). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN

Powered by droning guitars and a heroin-chic cinematic palette, Jim Jarmusch’s tale of a vampire couple in decaying Detroit has the texture and vibe of every Velvet Underground song ever recorded – but of course that’s also its central metaphor.

Adam (Tom Hiddleston) lives like a recluse in a shabby Motown manse, making music he swears he’ll never release Eve (Tilda Swinton) is his fashion-plate partner, just back from hanging out in Tangiers with a guy she calls Kit Marlowe (John Hurt). They pick up deliveries of “the good stuff” and swan around in elegant decadence until Eve’s wild-child sister (Mia Wasikowska) gets in from L.A. and fucks up their perfect ennui.

It doesn’t explode the vampire genre – I’m not even sure it takes place within the genre, really. But it’s a deeply pleasurable film, with bone-dry wit and languid pacing that recall the Jarmusch of Mystery Train and Dead Man. The entire cast is having a ball, and Adam’s music is pretty good, too.

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